Your home pantry can be a breeding ground for food pests if you don’t take preventative measures on how you are storing items such as cereal, flour, pasta, dried fruit, chocolate, seeds or grain, bird seed or pet food, etc. And a big challenge with common food pests is that, typically, they go unnoticed until the infestation becomes abundant!
While some food pests come from the outside and make their way into your home, others can be brought into your home from the actual food products. Those types of initial product infestations can originate at the food processing plant, the warehouse, the delivery vehicle, or the retail store.
Pests of Stored Foods
As previously stated, food pests are insects that will infest stored dry foods, such as dry pastas and noodles, grains and flour, spices, dry dog and cat food, and bird seed. Most problems occur in kitchen cabinets and pantries, but sometimes occur in other areas of the home, either where pet food is stored or where mice have been hoarding food for future consumption (if you have a mouse infestation). The presence alone of insects in our food is unsightly and gross, and even if we fail to notice them they horribly taint the foods they infest along with the storage areas!
Thoroughly pest infested food items should be thrown away, and those that are questionable, keep this in mind:
Food pest insects, and especially their youngest larvae can be extremely tiny, can go unnoticed in other areas of a kitchen or pantry, so an extended treatment of the area is necessary to stop the infestation.
Also, when mice infest a home, they tend to store collected foods in hidden spots, such as under kitchen cabinets and within wall voids where food pest insects will infest the hidden foods. This poses a special problem in that the food and insects are hard to locate, treat, and remove.
Besides mice, rats, or other rodents, this post explores insect food pests common to the Seattle-Tacoma region where Cascade Pest Control services:
Drug Store Beetles
Drug Store Beetles infest dry grains, grain products such as noodles, and pet foods. These beetles are tiny, making them difficult to detect until they number in the hundreds or thousands. It also makes it impossible to locate all of them throughout the kitchen or pantry so an extended treatment is required.
Indian Meal Moths
Indian Meal Moths do significant damage to stored flour, meal, and other grain products. Even when the food is minimally infested the larvae and their webbing horribly ruins its taste. As with other stored product pests, they are small and spread out, so an extended treatment is required.
Carpet Beetles, while named after their ability to destroy woolen carpets, also infest certain stored dry foods – most notably grains and spices. Regardless of where they show up in a home, since Carpet Beetles can and will spread both into kitchen/pantry areas and into clothes closets and drawers in search of wool and silk, an extensive approach to treatment is needed.
Mites, although technically not insects (they are related to spiders), can occasionally infest certain stored foods. Contact Cascade for more information or to schedule a treatment.
The key to successful food pest control is to locate the source of infestation. Finding these pests in your kitchen pantry does not mean the infestation is confined to only that area – these pesky pests can FLY!